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A Theory of Feelings Anger and Forgiveness"My Madness Saved Me"10 Good Questions about Life and Death12 Modern Philosophers50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a GodA Cabinet of Philosophical CuriositiesA Case for IronyA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to Buddhist PhilosophyA Companion to FoucaultA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to HumeA Companion to KantA Companion to Phenomenology and ExistentialismA Companion to PragmatismA Companion to the Philosophy of ActionA Companion to the Philosophy of BiologyA Companion to the Philosophy of LiteratureA Conceptual History of PsychologyA Critical Overview of Biological FunctionsA Critique of Naturalistic Philosophies of MindA Cursing Brain?A Delicate BalanceA Farewell to AlmsA Fragile LifeA Frightening LoveA Future for PresentismA Guide to the Good LifeA History of PsychiatryA History of the MindA Life Worth LivingA Manual of Experimental PhilosophyA Map of the MindA Metaphysics of PsychopathologyA Mind So RareA Natural History of Human MoralityA Natural History of Human ThinkingA Natural History of VisionA Parliament of MindsA Philosopher Looks at The Sense of HumorA Philosophical DiseaseA Philosophy of BoredomA Philosophy of Cinematic ArtA Philosophy of CultureA Philosophy of EmptinessA Philosophy of FearA Philosophy of PainA Physicalist ManifestoA Place for ConsciousnessA Question of TrustA Research Agenda for DSM-VA Revolution of the MindA Sentimentalist Theory of the MindA Stroll With William JamesA Tapestry of ValuesA Tear is an Intellectual ThingA Theory of FreedomA Thousand MachinesA Universe of ConsciousnessA Very Bad WizardA Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the CurtainA Virtue EpistemologyA World Full of GodsA World Without ValuesAbout FaceAbout the Beginning of the Hermeneutics of the SelfAction and ResponsibilityAction in ContextAction Theory, Rationality and CompulsionAction, Contemplation, and HappinessAction, Emotion and WillAdam SmithAdaptive DynamicsAddictionAddictionAddiction and ResponsibilityAddiction Is a ChoiceAdvances in Identity Theory and ResearchAftermathAfterwarAgainst AdaptationAgainst AutonomyAgainst BioethicsAgainst HappinessAgainst HealthAgency and ActionAgency and AnswerabilityAgency and EmbodimentAgency and ResponsibilityAgency, Freedom, and Moral ResponsibilityAl-JununAlain BadiouAlain BadiouAlasdair MacIntyreAlien Landscapes?Altered EgosAn Anthology of Psychiatric EthicsAn Ethics for TodayAn Intellectual History of CannibalismAn Interpretation of DesireAn Introduction to EthicsAn Introduction to Kant's Moral Philosophy An Introduction to Philosophy of EducationAn Introduction to the Philosophy of MindAn Introduction to the Philosophy of MindAn Introduction to the Philosophy of PsychologyAn Introductory Philosophy of MedicineAn Odd Kind of FameAnalytic FreudAnalytic Philosophy in AmericaAncient AngerAncient Models of MindAncient Philosophy of the SelfAngerAnimal LessonsAnimal MindsAnimals Like UsAnnihilationAnother PlanetAnswers for AristotleAnti-ExternalismAnti-Individualism and KnowledgeAntigone’s ClaimAntipsychiatryAre We Hardwired?Are Women Human?Arguing about DisabilityArguing About Human NatureAristotle and the Philosophy of FriendshipAristotle on Practical WisdomAristotle's ChildrenAristotle's Ethics and Moral ResponsibilityAristotle, Emotions, and EducationArt & MoralityArt After Conceptual ArtArt in Three DimensionsArt, Self and KnowledgeArtificial ConsciousnessArtificial HappinessAspects of PsychologismAsylum to ActionAt the Existentialist CaféAtonement and ForgivenessAttention is Cognitive UnisonAutobiography as PhilosophyAutonomyAutonomy and Mental DisorderAutonomy and the Challenges to LiberalismBabies by DesignBackslidingBadiouBadiou's DeleuzeBadiou, Balibar, Ranciere: Rethinking EmancipationBare Facts And Naked TruthsBasic Desert, Reactive Attitudes and Free WillBattlestar Galactica and PhilosophyBe Like the FoxBeautyBecoming a SubjectBecoming HumanBefore ConsciousnessBehavingBehavioral Genetics in the Postgenomic EraBeing AmoralBeing HumanBeing Mentally Ill: A Sociological Theory Being No OneBeing Realistic about ReasonsBeing ReducedBeing YourselfBelief's Own EthicsBending Over BackwardsBerlin Childhood around 1900Bernard WilliamsBertrand RussellBetter than BothBetter Than WellBetween Two WorldsBeyond HealthBeyond Hegel and NietzscheBeyond KuhnBeyond LossBeyond Moral JudgmentBeyond PostmodernismBeyond ReductionBeyond SchizophreniaBeyond the DSM StoryBioethicsBioethics and the BrainBioethics in the ClinicBiological Complexity and Integrative PluralismBiology Is TechnologyBiosBipolar ExpeditionsBlackwell Companion to the Philosophy of EducationBlindsight & The Nature of ConsciousnessBlues - Philosophy for EveryoneBlushBob Dylan and PhilosophyBody ConsciousnessBody Image And Body SchemaBody ImagesBody LanguageBody MattersBody WorkBody-Subjects and Disordered MindsBoundBoundaries of the MindBoyleBrain Evolution and CognitionBrain FictionBrain, Mind, and Human Behavior in Contemporary Cognitive ScienceBrain-WiseBrainchildrenBrains, Buddhas, and BelievingBrainstormingBrave New WorldsBreakdown of WillBrief Child Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and FaithBrief Therapy Homework PlannerBritain on the CouchBritish Idealism and the Concept of the SelfBrute RationalityBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBut Is It Art?Camus and SartreCartesian LinguisticsCartographies of the MindCarving Nature at Its JointsCase Studies in Biomedical Research EthicsCassandra's DaughterCato's TearsCausation and CounterfactualsCauses, Laws, and Free WillChanging Conceptions of the Child from the Renaissance to Post-ModernityChanging the SubjectChaosophyCharacter and Moral Psychology Character as Moral FictionCharles DarwinCherishmentChildhood and the Philosophy of EducationChildrenChildren, Families, and Health Care Decision MakingChoices and ConflictChoosing Not to ChooseChristmas - Philosophy for EveryoneCinema, Philosophy, BergmanCinematic MythmakingCity and Soul in Plato's RepublicClassifying MadnessClear and Queer ThinkingClinical EthicsClinical Psychiatry in Imperial GermanyCodependent ForevermoreCoffee - Philosophy for EveryoneCognition and the BrainCognition of Value in Aristotle's EthicsCognition Through Understanding: Self-Knowledge, Interlocution, Reasoning, ReflectionCognitive BiologyCognitive FictionsCognitive Neuroscience of EmotionCognitive Systems and the Extended MindCognitive Systems and the Extended Mind Cognitive Theories of Mental IllnessCoherence in Thought and ActionCollected Papers, Volume 1Collected Papers, Volume 2College SexComedy IncarnateCommitmentCommunicative Action and Rational ChoiceCompetence, Condemnation, and CommitmentConcealment And ExposureConceptual Analysis and Philosophical NaturalismConceptual Art and PaintingConceptual Issues in Evolutionary BiologyConfessionsConfucianismConnected, or What It Means to Live in the Network SocietyConquest of AbundanceConscience and ConvenienceConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousness ConsciousnessConsciousness and Its Place in NatureConsciousness and LanguageConsciousness and Mental LifeConsciousness and MindConsciousness and the NovelConsciousness and the SelfConsciousness EmergingConsciousness EvolvingConsciousness ExplainedConsciousness in ActionConsciousness RecoveredConsciousness RevisitedConsciousness, Color, and ContentConsole and ClassifyConstructing the WorldConstructive AnalysisContemporary Debates In Applied EthicsContemporary Debates in Moral TheoryContemporary Debates in Philosophy of BiologyContemporary Debates in Philosophy of MindContemporary Debates in Political PhilosophyContemporary Debates in Social PhilosophyContemporary Perspectives on Natural LawContested Knowledge: Social Theory TodayContesting PsychiatryContext and the AttitudesContinental Philosophy of ScienceControlControlling Our DestiniesConversations About Psychology and Sexual OrientationCopernicus, Darwin and FreudCrazy for YouCreating a Life of Meaning and CompassionCreating ConsilienceCreating HysteriaCreating Mental IllnessCreating Scientific ConceptsCreating the American JunkieCreation, Rationality and AutonomyCreatures Like Us?Crime and CulpabilityCrime, Punishment, and Mental IllnessCrimes of ReasonCritical New Perspectives on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderCritical PsychiatryCritical PsychologyCritical ResistanceCritical Thinking About PsychologyCritical VisionsCross and KhoraCruel CompassionCTRL [SPACE]Cultural Psychology of the SelfCultural Theory: An IntroductionCulture and Psychiatric DiagnosisCulture and Subjective Well-BeingCulture of DeathCultures of NeurastheniaCurious EmotionsCurrent Controversies in Experimental PhilosophyCurrent Controversies in Values and ScienceCustom and Reason in HumeCustomers and Patrons of the Mad-TradeCutting God in Half - And Putting the Pieces Together AgainCylons in AmericaDamaged IdentitiesDamasio's Error and Descartes' TruthDangerous EmotionsDaniel DennettDaniel DennettDark AgesDarwin and DesignDarwin's Dangerous IdeaDarwin's LegacyDarwin, God and the Meaning of LifeDarwinian PsychiatryDarwinian ReductionismDarwinizing CultureDating: Philosophy for EveryoneDeathDeathDeath and CharacterDeath and CompassionDeath and the AfterlifeDebating DesignDebating HumanismDecision Making, Personhood and DementiaDecomposing the WillDeconstructing PsychotherapyDeconstruction and DemocracyDeeper Than DarwinDeeper than ReasonDefending Science - within ReasonDefining Psychopathology in the 21st CenturyDegrees of BeliefDelusion and Self-DeceptionDelusions and Other Irrational BeliefsDelusions and the Madness of the MassesDementiaDemons, Dreamers, and MadmenDennett and Ricoeur on the Narrative SelfDennett’s PhilosophyDepression Is a ChoiceDepression, Emotion and the SelfDepthDerrida, Deleuze, PsychoanalysisDescartesDescartes and the Passionate MindDescartes' CogitoDescartes's Changing MindDescartes's Concept of MindDescribing Inner Experience?Descriptions and PrescriptionsDesembodied Spirits and Deanimated Bodies Desert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Desire and AffectDesire, Love, and IdentityDesire, Practical Reason, and the GoodDeveloping the VirtuesDiagnosing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersDialectics of the SelfDid My Neurons Make Me Do It?Difference and IdentityDigital SoulDimensional Models of Personality DisordersDisability, Difference, DiscriminationDisjunctivismDisorders of VolitionDisorientation and Moral LifeDispatches from the Freud WarsDisrupted LivesDistractionDisturbed ConsciousnessDivided Minds and Successive SelvesDo Apes Read Minds?Do Fish Feel Pain?Do We Still Need Doctors?Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?Does the Woman Exist?Doing without ConceptsDon't Believe Everything You ThinkDonald DavidsonDonald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the MentalDoubting Darwin?Dreaming and Other Involuntary MentationDSM-IV SourcebookDSM-IV SourcebookDSM-IV-TR CasebookDworkin and His CriticsDying to KnowDynamics in ActionDysthymia and the Spectrum of Chronic DepressionsEccentricsEducational MetamorphosesEffective IntentionsElbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth WantingEmbodied Minds in ActionEmbodied RhetoricsEmbodied Selves and Divided MindsEmbryos under the MicroscopeEmergencies in Mental Health PracticeEmerging Conceptual, Ethical and Policy Issues in BionanotechnologyEmotionEmotion and ConsciousnessEmotion and PsycheEmotion ExperienceEmotion RegulationEmotion, Evolution, And RationalityEmotional IntelligenceEmotional ReasonEmotional ReasonEmotional TruthEmotions in Humans and ArtifactsEmotions in the Moral LifeEmotions in the Moral LifeEmotions, Value, and AgencyEmpathyEmpathy and AgencyEmpathy and Moral DevelopmentEmpathy and MoralityEmpathy in the Context of PhilosophyEmpirical Ethics in PsychiatryEnchanted LoomsEngaging BuddhismEngineering the Human GermlineEnjoymentEnvyEpicureanismEpistemic LuckEpistemologyEpistemology and EmotionsEpistemology and the Psychology of Human JudgmentEros and the GoodErotic MoralityEssays in Social NeuroscienceEssays in the Metaphysics of Mind Essays on Derek Parfit's On What MattersEssays on Free Will and Moral ResponsibilityEssays on Nonconceptual ContentEssays on Philosophical CounselingEssays on Reference, Language, and MindEssays on the Concept of Mind in Early-Modern PhilosophyEssential Sources in the Scientific Study of ConsciousnessEsssential Philosophy of PsychiatryEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindEthical Conflicts in PsychologyEthical Issues in Forensic Mental Health ResearchEthical Issues in Human CloningEthical TheoryEthicsEthicsEthics and the A PrioriEthics and the Metaphysics of MedicineEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics Done RightEthics ExpertiseEthics in Plain EnglishEthics in PracticeEthics in Psychiatric ResearchEthics of PsychiatryEthics without OntologyEuropean Review of Philosophy. Vol. 5Everyday IrrationalityEvil in Modern ThoughtEvolutionEvolution and the Human MindEvolution's RainbowEvolutionary Origins of MoralityEvolutionary PsychologyExamined LifeExamined LivesExistential AmericaExistentialismExistentialism and Romantic LoveExperimental PhilosophyExperimental PhilosophyExperimental PhilosophyExperimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and NaturalismExperiments in EthicsExplaining ConsciousnessExplaining the BrainExplaining the Computational MindExplanatory PluralismExploding the Gene MythExploring HappinessExploring the SelfExpression and the InnerExpressions of JudgmentExtraordinary Science and PsychiatryFaces of IntentionFact and ValueFact and Value in EmotionFacts, Values, and NormsFads and Fallacies in the Social SciencesFaith and Wisdom in ScienceFatherhoodFear of KnowledgeFearless SpeechFeeling Pain and Being in PainFeelings and EmotionsFeelings of BeingFellow-Feeling and the Moral LifeFeminism and Its DiscontentsFeminism and Philosophy of ScienceFeminist Ethics and Social and Political PhilosophyFeminist Interpretations of Rene DescartesFeminist TheoryField Notes from ElsewhereFinding Consciousness in the BrainFingerprints of GodFlesh in the Age of ReasonFolk Psychological NarrativesFolk Psychology Re-AssessedForces of HabitForgivenessForgiveness and LoveForgiveness and RetributionFoucault 2.0Foucault and PhilosophyFoucault NowFoucault, Psychology and the Analytics of PowerFoundational Issues in Human Brain MappingFoundations of Ethical Practice, Research, and Teaching in PsychologyFour Views on Free WillFrank Ramsey (1903-1930)Free WillFree WillFree WillFree WillFree Will and Action ExplanationFree Will and LuckFree Will And Moral ResponsibilityFree Will as an Open Scientific ProblemFree Will, Agency, and Meaning in LifeFree: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free WillFreedomFreedom and DeterminismFreedom And NeurobiologyFreedom and ResponsibiltyFreedom and ValueFreedom EvolvesFreedom RegainedFreedom vs. InterventionFreedom, Fame, Lying, and BetrayalFreudFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFreud As PhilosopherFreud's AnswerFreud, the Reluctant PhilosopherFriedrich NietzscheFrom Chance to ChoiceFrom Clinic to ClassroomFrom Complexity to LifeFrom Enlightenment to ReceptivityFrom Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution for Science and the HumanitiesFrom Morality to Mental HealthFrom Passions to EmotionsFrom Philosophy to PsychotherapyFrom Valuing to ValueFrontiers of ConsciousnessFrontiers of JusticeFurnishing the MindGalileo in PittsburghGenderGender and Mental HealthGender in the MirrorGender TroubleGenesGenes, Women, EqualityGenetic Nature/CultureGenetic ProspectsGenetic ProspectsGenetic SecretsGenocide's AftermathGenomes and What to Make of ThemGerman Idealism and the JewGerman PhilosophyGetting HookedGilles DeleuzeGlobal PhilosophyGluttonyGod and Phenomenal ConsciousnessGoffman's LegacyGoing Amiss in Experimental ResearchGoodness & AdviceGrassroots SpiritualityGrave MattersGrave MattersGreedGreek Models of Mind and SelfGut ReactionsHabilitation, Health, and AgencyHabits of MindHallucinationHandbook of BioethicsHandbook of EmotionsHappinessHappinessHappinessHappinessHappiness and EducationHappiness and the Good LifeHappiness Is OverratedHappiness, Death, and the Remainder of LifeHard LuckHarmful ThoughtsHaving the World in ViewHealing PsychiatryHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHealth, Illness and DiseaseHealth, Science, and Ordinary LanguageHegelHeidegger and a Metaphysics of FeelingHeidegger, Metaphysics and the Univocity of BeingHermann von Helmholtz's MechanismHermeneutics As PoliticsHeterophobiaHeterosyncraciesHeuristics and BiasesHeuristics and the LawHidden ResourcesHidden SelvesHiding from HumanityHigh Art LiteHistorical OntologyHistory of Psychiatry and Medical PsychologyHistory, Historicity And ScienceHobbesHomosexualitiesHope and Dread in PsychoanalysisHot ThoughtHow Can I Be Trusted?How Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe?How Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow Could Conscious Experiences Affect Brains?How Do We Know Who We Are?How Emotions WorkHow Emotions WorkHow History Made the MindHow Images ThinkHow is Nature Possible?How Propaganda WorksHow Science WorksHow Scientific Practices MatterHow Scientists Explain DiseaseHow The Body Shapes The MindHow the Body Shapes the Way We ThinkHow the Mind Explains BehaviorHow the Mind Uses the BrainHow to Make Opportunity EqualHow to Solve the Mind-Body Problemhow to stop timeHow to Think More About SexHow We HopeHow We ReasonHuman CloningHuman Development, Language and the Future of MankindHuman EnhancementHuman Evolution, Reproduction, and MoralityHuman GoodnessHuman Identity and BioethicsHuman NatureHuman NatureHuman Nature and the Limits of ScienceHuman-Built WorldHumanismHumanism, What's That?HumanityHumans, Animals, MachinesHumeHumeHume on Motivation and VirtueHusserlHystoriesI of the VortexI Was WrongIdeas that MatterIdentifying the MindIdentity and Agency in Cultural WorldsIgnorance and ImaginationIllnessImagination and Its PathologiesImagination and the Meaningful BrainImagining NumbersImmortal RemainsImproving Nature?In Defense of an Evolutionary Concept of HealthIn Defense of SentimentalityIn Love With LifeIn Praise of Athletic BeautyIn Praise of Natural PhilosophyIn Praise of the WhipIn Pursuit of HappinessIn Search of HappinessIn the Name of GodIn the Name of IdentityIn the Space of ReasonsIn the SwarmIn Two MindsInclusive EthicsInclusive EthicsIncompatibilism's AllureIndividual Differences in Conscious ExperienceInfinity and PerspectiveInformation ArtsInformed Consent in Medical ResearchIngmar Bergman, Cinematic PhilosopherInhuman ThoughtsInner PresenceInsanityIntegrating Psychotherapy and PharmacotherapyIntegrity and the Fragile SelfIntelligent VirtueIntentionIntentionality, Deliberation and AutonomyIntentions and IntentionalityIntentions and IntentionalityInterpreting MindsInterpreting NietzscheIntroducing Greek PhilosophyIntrospection and ConsciousnessIntrospection VindicatedIntuition, Imagination, and Philosophical MethodologyIntuitionismInvestigating the Psychological WorldIrrationalityIrrationalityIs Academic Feminism Dead?Is It Me or My Meds?Is Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Is Oedipus Online?Is Science Neurotic?Is Science Value Free?Is the Visual World a Grand Illusion?Is There a Duty to Die?Issues in Philosophical CounselingJacques LacanJacques RancièreJacques RanciereJean-Paul SartreJohn McDowellJohn SearleJohn Searle's Ideas About Social RealityJohn Stuart MillJohn Stuart Mill and the Writing of CharacterJoint AttentionJokesJonathan EdwardsJudging and UnderstandingJustice for ChildrenJustice in RobesJustice, Luck, and KnowledgeKantKant and MiltonKant and the Fate of AutonomyKant and the Limits of AutonomyKant and the Role of Pleasure in Moral ActionKant on Freedom, Law, and HappinessKant on Moral AutonomyKant's Anatomy of EvilKant's Anatomy of the Intelligent MindKant's Theory of VirtueKarl JaspersKarl PopperKey Concepts in PhilosophyKierkegaardKierkegaard as PhenomenologistKierkegaard's Concept of DespairKierkegaard's MuseKinds of MindsKinds, Things, and StuffKnowing, Knowledge and BeliefsKnowledge MonopoliesKnowledge, Belief, and CharacterKnowledge, Possibility, and ConsciousnessLacanLack of CharacterLack of CharacterLanguageLanguage in ContextLanguage, Consciousness, CultureLanguage, Culture, and MindLanguage, Vision, and MusicLaw and the BrainLaw, Liberty, and PsychiatryLaws, Mind, and Free WillLeaving YouLectures on the History of Political PhilosophyLevelling the Playing FieldLiberal Education in a Knowledge SocietyLiberatory PsychiatryLife and ActionLife at the Texas State Lunatic Asylum, 1857-1997Life Is Not a Game of PerfectLife of the MindLife's FormLife, Death, & MeaningLife, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of UtilityLife, Sex, and IdeasLight in the Dark RoomLike a Splinter in Your MindLiving and Dying WellLiving NarrativeLiving Outside Mental IllnessLiving with DarwinLiving With One’s PastLockeLocke LockeLogic and the Art of Memory Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and LiteratureLooking for SpinozaLooking for The StrangerLost SoulsLOT 2LoveLoveLove's ConfusionsLove's VisionLove, Friendship, and the SelfLove, Sex & TragedyLuckyLudwig WittgensteinLustLyingMachine ConsciousnessMad for FoucaultMad TravelersMade with WordsMadness And Death In PhilosophyMadness and DemocracyMadness at HomeMadness Is CivilizationMaking Natural KnowledgeMaking Sense of EvolutionMaking Sense of Freedom and ResponsibilityMaking the DSM-5Making the Social WorldMaking TruthMale Female EmailMan, Beast, and ZombieMandated Reporting of Suspected Child AbuseManiaManic Depression and CreativityMapping the Edges and the In-betweenMapping the Future of BiologyMarcus AureliusMaster PassionsMatters of the MindMe++Meaning and Moral OrderMeaning and Value in a Secular AgeMeaning in LifeMeaning in Life and Why It MattersMeaning, Basic Self-Knowledge, and MindMeanings of ArtMeasuring HappinessMeasuring PsychopathologyMedia MadnessMedical Enhancement and PosthumanityMedicine and Philosophy in Classical AntiquityMedicine of the PersonMedicine, Mental Health, Religion, Science and Well-BeingMelancholy And the Care of the SoulMelancholy and the Otherness of GodMementoMemory and NarrativeMental ActionsMental CausationMental Causation and OntologyMental HealthMental Health At The CrossroadsMental Health Policy in BritainMerit, Meaning, and Human BondageMerleau-PontyMerleau-Ponty and the Possibilities of PhilosophyMetacognition and Theory of MindMetacreationMetaethical SubjectivismMetaethicsMetal and FleshMetaphors of MemoryMetapoliticsMethods in MindMichel FoucaultMill's UtilitarianismMindMindMind and ConsciousnessMind and CosmosMind and MechanismMind GamesMind in a Physical WorldMind in Everyday Life and Cognitive ScienceMind in LifeMind TimeMind's LandscapeMind, Brain and the Elusive SoulMind, Brain, and Free WillMind, Reason and ImaginationMinding MindsMindreadersMindreading AnimalsMinds and PersonsMinds, Brains, and LawMinds, Ethics, and ConditionalsMindshapingMindsightMindworldsMirror, MirrorMixed FeelingsMockingbird YearsModels of the SelfModern Social ImaginariesModern Theories of JusticeModernity and SubjectivityModernity and TechnologyMoody Minds DistemperedMoral BrainsMoral DimensionsMoral FailureMoral ImaginationMoral LiteracyMoral MachinesMoral ParticularismMoral PsychologyMoral Psychology and Human AgencyMoral Psychology, Volume 1Moral Psychology, Volume 2Moral Psychology, Volume 3Moral Psychology: Volume IVMoral RepairMoral Responsibility and Alternative PossibilitiesMoral TribesMoral Value and Human DiversityMorality and Self-InterestMorality in a Natural WorldMorality, Moral Luck and ResponsibilityMotherhoodMotive and RightnessMoving Beyond Prozac, DSM, and the New PsychiatryMultiple Analogies in Science and PhilosophyMultiple Identities & False MemoriesMusic, Madness, and the Unworking of LanguageMy Brain Made Me Do ItMy Double UnveiledMy WayNarrativeNarrative and IdentityNarrative MedicineNarrative PsychiatryNarrative Theory and the Cognitive SciencesNatural Ethical FactsNatural Kinds and Conceptual ChangeNatural MindsNatural-Born CybogsNaturalism and the First-Person PerspectiveNaturalism and the Human ConditionNaturalism in the Philosophy of HealthNaturalism in the Philosophy of HealthNaturalized BioethicsNaturalizing the MindNatureNature and NarrativeNear Death ExperienceNeither Bad nor MadNeither Victim nor SurvivorNeuro-Philosophy and the Healthy MindNeuroethicsNeuroethicsNeurological Foundations of Cognitive Neuroscience Neurophilosophy at WorkNeurophilosophy of Free WillNeuropoliticsNeuropsychoanalysis in PracticeNeuroscience and PhilosophyNew Essays on the Explanation of ActionNew Philosophy for a New MediaNew Versions of VictimsNew Waves in Philosophy of ActionNietzscheNietzsche and Buddhist PhilosophyNietzsche on Ethics and PoliticsNietzsche's TherapyNietzsche, Culture and EducationNietzsche: The Man and His PhilosophyNihil UnboundNoir AnxietyNormative EthicsNormativityNorms of NatureNotebooks 1951-1959Notes Toward a Performative Theory of AssemblyNothing So AbsurdOblivionOn AnxietyOn ApologyOn Being AuthenticOn Being AuthenticOn BeliefOn BetrayalOn BullshitOn DelusionOn DesireOn EmotionsOn HashishOn Human RightsOn Loving Our EnemiesOn Nature and LanguageOn PersonalityOn ReflectionOn Romantic LoveOn the EmotionsOn the Freud WatchOn the Government of the LivingOn the Human ConditionOn the InternetOn the Meaning of LifeOn the Philosophy of LawOn the Pragmatics of CommunicationOn the Punitive SocietyOn TruthOn Virtue EthicsOn What MattersOn What We Owe to Each OtherOne Hundred DaysOnflowOnly a Promise of HappinessOntology of ConsciousnessOpen MindedOpen Your EyesOrgans without BodiesOther MindsOur Last Great IllusionOur Own MindsOur Posthuman FutureOur StoriesOut of Its MindOut of Our HeadsOxford Guide to the MindOxford Handbook of Psychiatric EthicsOxford Textbook of Philosophy of PsychiatryPanic DisorderPanpsychismPanpsychism in the WestPartialityPassionate EnginesPassionate EnginesPathologies of BeliefPathologies of ReasonPatient Autonomy and the Ethics of ResponsibilityPC, M.D.Perceiving the WorldPerception & CognitionPerception and Basic BeliefsPerception, Hallucination, and IllusionPerceptual ExperiencePerfecting VirtuePerplexities of ConsciousnessPersistencePersonal AutonomyPersonal Autonomy in SocietyPersonal IdentityPersonal Identity and EthicsPersonal Identity and Fractured SelvesPersonhood and Health CarePersonsPersons and BodiesPersons, Humanity, and the Definition of DeathPersons, Souls and DeathPerspectives on ImitationPerspectives on PragmatismPessimismPhenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal KnowledgePhenomenal ConsciousnessPhenomenal IntentionalityPhenomenology and ExistentialismPhenomenology and Philosophy of MindPhilosophersPhilosophers on MusicPhilosophers without GodsPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPhilosophical DevicesPhilosophical Foundations of NeurosciencePhilosophical History and the Problem of ConsciousnessPhilosophical Issues in PsychiatryPhilosophical Issues in PsychiatryPhilosophical Issues in Psychiatry IIPhilosophical MethodologyPhilosophical MidwiferyPhilosophical Myths of the FallPhilosophical Perspectives on DepictionPhilosophical Perspectives on Technology and PsychiatryPhilosophical PracticePhilosophical Reflections on DisabilityPhilosophizing About Sex Philosophizing the EverydayPhilosophy and HappinessPhilosophy and LivingPhilosophy and PsychiatryPhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy and Science FictionPhilosophy and the EmotionsPhilosophy and the EmotionsPhilosophy and the Interpretation of Pop CulturePhilosophy and the Moving ImagePhilosophy and the NeurosciencesPhilosophy and This Actual WorldPhilosophy As FictionPhilosophy BitesPhilosophy Bites BackPhilosophy for Counselling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for LifePhilosophy in a New CenturyPhilosophy in an Age of SciencePhilosophy in Children's LiteraturePhilosophy of ActionPhilosophy of ActionPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BodyPhilosophy of Film and Motion PicturesPhilosophy of LovePhilosophy of Love, Sex, and MarriagePhilosophy of MindPhilosophy of Mind and CognitionPhilosophy of Personal Identity and Multiple PersonalityPhilosophy of PsychologyPhilosophy of Public HealthPhilosophy of SciencePhilosophy of SciencePhilosophy of Technology: The Technological ConditionPhilosophy of the Social SciencesPhilosophy on TapPhilosophy PracticePhilosophy the Day after TomorrowPhilosophy's Role in Counseling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy, Neuroscience and ConsciousnessPhilosophy, Politics, DemocracyPhotography and PhilosophyPhysical RealizationPhysicalism and Its DiscontentsPhysicalism and Mental CausationPhysicalism, or Something Near EnoughPhysician-Assisted DyingPillar of SaltPin-up GrrrlsPlant MindsPlatoPlatoPlato, Not Prozac!Platonic Ethics, Old and NewPluralistic CasuistryPolarities of ExperiencesPolitical EmotionsPopper, Objectivity and the Growth of KnowledgePornPorn StudiesPornography, Sex, and FeminismPortrait of the Psychiatrist as a Young ManPostcolonial DisordersPostpsychiatryPosttraumatic Stress DisorderPower and the SelfPower SplitPractical Autonomy and BioethicsPractical ConflictsPractical Identity and Narrative AgencyPractical PhilosophyPractical RulesPractical Tortoise RaisingPractically ProfoundPracticing Feminist Ethics in PsychologyPragmatic BioethicsPragmatismPragmatism, Old And NewPraise and BlamePredicative MindsPreferences and Well-BeingPrescriptions for the MindPresocraticsPrimary and Secondary QualitiesPrimates and PhilosophersPrivacyPrivileged AccessProblems in MindProblems of RationalityProzac As a Way of LifeProzac BacklashProzac on the CouchPsyche and SomaPsychiatric Aspects of Justification, Excuse and Mitigation in Anglo-American Criminal Law Psychiatric Cultures ComparedPsychiatric Diagnosis and ClassificationPsychiatric EthicsPsychiatric HegemonyPsychiatric PowerPsychiatric SlaveryPsychiatry and Philosophy of SciencePsychiatry and ReligionPsychiatry as a Human SciencePsychiatry as Cognitive NeurosciencePsychiatry in SocietyPsychiatry in the New MilleniumPsychiatry in the Scientific ImagePsychiatry, Psychoanalysis, And The New Biology Of MindPsycho-Physical Dualism TodayPsychoanalysis and Narrative MedicinePsychoanalysis and the Philosophy of SciencePsychological Concepts and Biological PsychiatryPsychology and PhilosophyPsychology and the Question of AgencyPsychology's Interpretive TurnPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychotherapy and ConfidentialityPsychotherapy As PraxisPublic PhilosophyPunishmentPure ImmanencePurple HazePursuing MeaningQuality of Life and Human DifferenceQueer PhilosophyQuestions for FreudQuestions for FreudQuine and Davidson on Language, Thought and RealityRaceRace in Contemporary MedicineRadiant CoolRadical AlterityRadical ExternalismRadical HopeRational and Social AgencyRational CausationRational Choice in an Uncertain WorldRationality + Consciousness = Free WillRationality and FreedomRationality and the Reflective MindRationality in ActionRawls, Dewey, and ConstructivismRe-creating MedicineRe-EmergenceRe-Engineering Philosophy for Limited BeingsReading AutobiographyReading Bernard WilliamsReading SartreReadings in the Philosophy of TechnologyReal MaterialismReal Natures and Familiar ObjectsReal ScienceRealism in ActionReason & EmancipationReason in ActionReason in PhilosophyReason's GriefReasonably ViciousReasoning About Rational AgentsReasoning in Biological DiscoveriesReasons from WithinReasons without RationalismReclaiming CognitionReclaiming the SoulReconceiving SchizophreniaReconstructing Reason and RepresentationReconstructing the Cognitive WorldRecreative MindsRediscovering EmotionRediscovering EmpathyReference and ExistenceReference and the Rational MindReflections On How We LiveReframing Disease ContextuallyRefusing CareRegulating SexReinventing the SoulRelativism and Human RightsRelativism and the Foundations of PhilosophyRelativism and the Foundations of PhilosophyReliable ReasoningReligion without GodRelying on OthersRemembering HomeResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility from the MarginsRestraining RageRethinking ExpertiseRethinking IntrospectionRethinking Mental Health and DisorderRethinking RapeRethinking the DSMRethinking the Sociology of Mental HealthRethinking the Western Understanding of the SelfReturn to ReasonRevolt, She SaidRichard RortyRichard RortyRichard RortyRichard RortyRichard RortyRichard Rorty's New PragmatismRightsRights, Democracy, and Fulfillment in the Era of Identity PoliticsRise And Fall of Soul And SelfRitalin NationRobert NozickRousseauRousseau and the Dilemmas of Modernity Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to 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Zombies and ConsciousnessReview - Zombies and Consciousness
by Robert Kirk
Oxford University Press, 2006
Review by Maria Antonietta Perna, Ph.D.
Sep 5th 2006 (Volume 10, Issue 36)

The zombie idea haunts the literature dedicated to the philosophy of mind and consciousness.  The philosophical zombie is an exact physical duplicate of a human being and lives in a world essentially like ours, but without subjectivity or 'inner world'.  Among philosophers of mind we find both supporters and detractors of the zombie idea; Robert Kirk, by his own admission a former 'zombie freak' himself (p.25, fn.1), offers a thorough and cogent refutation of the concept of zombie as understood above.   In the first four chapters of the book, the reader is presented with a compelling case for the inconceivability of zombies.   The remaining seven chapters offer a fresh view of phenomenal consciousness which is based on Kirk's own brand of functionalism.

In chapter 2, 'Zombies and Minimal Physicalism', Kirk argues that 'if zombies are even possible, physicalism is false' (p.7).   The Author puts forward his 'strict implication thesis', which is necessary for a commitment to minimal physicalism (i.e., no one who professes to be a physicalist can consistently withdraw adherence to this thesis and still remain a physicalist).  Strict implication is defined as follows: 'A statement A strictly implies a statement B just in case "not- (if A then B)" is inconsistent or incoherent for broadly logical or conceptual reasons' (p.10).  On the basis of this definition, if P stands for the 'conjunction of all actually true statements' in the 'austere vocabulary of idealised contemporary physics (p.9), and Q stands for the 'conjunction of the totality of actually true statements in psychological language about the individuals whose existence physicalists suppose to be provided for by P' (p.10), then the strict implication thesis can be stated thus: 'P strictly implies Q'.  In other words:

"P and not-Q" involves inconsistency or other incoherence of a broadly logical or conceptual kind... (p.10).

That we cannot easily imagine or conceive of how P entails Q or, alternatively, that we can easily conceive P and not-Q, is no valid argument against such entailment (p.11).  Further, Kirk states the 'redescription thesis', which runs as follows:

Any true statements about the world not expressible in the austere physical vocabulary of P are pure redescriptions of the world specified by P. (p.9).
The above allows Kirk to argue that physicalists are not committed to the impossible task of finding austerely physical equivalents of psychological descriptions.  Finally, although the strict implication thesis is necessary for minimal physicalism, it is not sufficient; it is to be supplemented by the following: 'nothing exists other than what is strictly implied to exist by P' (p.17).  Although whether P implies Q is a question of logical entailment, the strict implication thesis itself is empirical in character: 'This is because P includes empirical statements that just happen to be true in our world.' (p.11).  More will be said about this crucial point later.   The consequence of the zombie idea for the strict implication thesis is that, since P implies Q, then, if zombies were possible, this would contravene the strict implication thesis, hence (minimal) physicalism would be false.   

Chapter 3, 'The Case for Zombies', examines some previous arguments for the existence of zombies by such well-established philosophers in the field as Chalmers, Block, Jackson, Nagel, as well as by Kirk himself.  The central point Kirk makes is that if something does seem conceivable it does not follow that it is therefore possible.  Further, conceivability itself is constrained by possibility in the following sense:

Conceivability in the relevant sense needs to be an epistemic matter.  Arguing from conceivability to possibility makes sense only so long as you don't already know that the situation in question is impossible... (pp.27-8).

In Chapter 4, 'Zapping the Zombie Idea', Kirk points out that zombists fall prey to what he calls the 'jacket fallacy':

[Zombists] mistakenly assume that phenomenal consciousness is a property, which can be stripped off while leaving the individual's other main properties intact. (p.39).

Firstly, Kirk points out that underpinning the zombie idea is an incoherent view of phenomenally conscious experience, which he calls the 'e-qualia story'.  Undermining the e-qualia story by showing that it is inconceivable will logically undermine the conceivability of zombies.  The e-qualia story's central point is that what makes individuals phenomenally conscious is that 'they stand in some relation to a special kind of non-physical properties, e-qualia; e-qualia are caused by physical properties but have no effect in the physical world (causal closure of the physical): the e-qualia could disappear and nothing would change in the physical world as a consequence (i.e., jacket fallacy); human beings are made of functioning bodies and their e-qualia; finally, human beings do enjoy what Chalmers, a supporter of the conceivability of the zombie idea, calls 'epistemic intimacy' with their e-qualia, that is, they 'are able to notice, attend to, think about , and compare their e-qualia.' (p.40).  The incoherence to which Kirk points is that the last essential requisite, namely, epistemic intimacy, is logically incompatible with the other components of the e-qualia story listed above.  To prove the incoherency of the e-qualia story, Kirk introduces the 'sole-pictures' thought experiment.  In short, if Zob, Kirk's zombie twin, were suddenly endowed with qualia, by the e-qualia story he would be conscious.  Kirk enjoins us to imagine the following:  by a change in the laws of nature, those neural processes which according to the e-qualia story cause his visual e-qualia, are mirrored in Zob's brain, only those visual processes give rise to constantly changing pictures on the soles of Zob's feet.  Is it conceivable -- asks Kirk -- that Zob's cognitive processes are at all epistemically relevant to the sole pictures?  Zob does not even notice the sole pictures and the latter have no effect whatsoever on his perceptual and cognitive processes, which by hypothesis mirror Kirk's (not Zob's).  Sole pictures have been modelled according to the structure of e-qualia as they are conceptualised in the e-qualia story (at least in the relevant respects), hence highlighting that story's internal  inconsistency: 'the story allows individuals no more epistemic access to their e-qualia than Zob has to his sole pictures ...that is, none.' (p.48).  The inconsistency of the e-qualia story can be assessed by a priori reflection, which makes it not conceivable.  Kirk points out that the e-qualia story is presupposed by parallelism and epiphenomenalism, hence from the incoherence of the e-qualia story the misconception of the view of consciousness entailed by both these metaphysical positions follows.  Regarding dualistic interactionism, Kirk admits that it is 'incompatible with the scientific evidence', but that he knows of no 'a priori refutation of it' (p.56). 

Chapter 5, 'What Has To Be Done', paves the way to the second part of Kirk's project of working out necessary and sufficient conditions for phenomenal consciousness.  The refutation of the zombie idea leads to the suggestion that descriptions of the qualitative aspect of experience, or in technical language 'qualia', are ways of talking about physical processes.   Kirk examines Nagel's well-known distinction between first- and third-person perspective, or, in Kirk's preferred terminology, between viewpoint-relative and viewpoint-neutral concepts.  Viewpoint-relative concepts can be fully grasped only by creatures endowed with the appropriate point of view, which might be said to involve, among other things, a certain sensory apparatus.  Further, grasping such kind of concepts 'also requires actual experiences in the right sensory capacities, perhaps even, in some cases, experiences of the specific kinds to which the concepts apply.  At least it requires the ability to create in imagination something akin to the experiences in question.' (p.62).  Viewpoint-neutral concepts are those which 'are accessible to any sufficiently intelligent creature -- human, Martian, robot -- regardless of the specific nature of their perceptual systems' (p.61), e.g., logico-mathematical concepts, concepts of physical theory, shape, distance, mass, etc.  Nagel's point is that it is impossible to convey the viewpoint relative concepts or the 'what-it-is-like' perspective in viewpoint-neutral language and, for this reason, a functional-scientific account of an organism, e.g., a bat, cannot convey knowledge of what it is like to be that organism; Nagel sees this as constituting serious problems for physicalism.  It is Kirk's view that Nagel has conflated two distinct problems.  Specifically:

One is the problem [Nagel] has emphasized: whether we can get from a knowledge of relevant viewpoint-neutral facts to a knowledge of the character of the bat's conscious experiences: a knowledge of what it is like (for the bat).  That is the what-is-it-like problem.  The other problem is whether we can get from a knowledge of those same viewpoint-neutral facts to a knowledge of whether the bat is phenomenally conscious at all.  That is the is-it-like-anything problem.  (p.63).

Kirk aims to tackle the second problem, that is, 'what does it take -- or what is it -- for something to be perceptually conscious?' (p.63).  Although solving the what-it-is problem does not warrant any solution to the what-it-is-like problem, what we would expect to achieve is 'to explain how, assuming the universe is a purely physical system, the purely physical facts about us can necessitate phenomenal consciousness' (p.72); by doing so, 'we should have cracked a major component of the mind-body problem.  We should also have largely vindicated physicalism' (p.64).  The direction Kirk takes consists in working out 'necessary and sufficient conditions for perceptual-phenomenal consciousness in terms which we can understand pretty well' (p.74); namely, 'in terms of everyday psychology (p.76).  What Kirk calls 'moderate  realism'  is the feature of everyday psychology to which he appeals, which requires 'no more than that there be some processes going on which constitute the system's working out its own response to the situation as it assesses it.' (p.75).

In Chapter 6, 'Deciders', Kirk begins the work of solving the 'what-it-is' problem.  Firstly, he points out that what matters in regard of differentiating between phenomenally conscious and non-conscious creatures is not simply a question of appearance.  Obviously, patterns of behavior play a central role in the working of our everyday psychological concepts.  In what is purportedly a neutral, non-question-begging, language, that is, in language that does not presuppose the object to be defined (p.95), Kirk presents a core cluster of concepts which figure as necessary conditions for phenomenal consciousness; these are  'Decider' and 'basic package'.  A decider possesses the capacities included in the basic package.  Namely:

(i)                 Initiate and control its own behavior on the basis of incoming and retained information: information that it can use.

(ii)               Acquire and retain information about its environment.

(iii)             Interpret information.

(iv)             Assess its situation.

(v)               Choose between alternative courses of action on the basis of retained and incoming information (equivalently, it can decide on a particular course of action).

(vi)             Have goals. (89).

Each one of the above capacities entails and is entailed by the others, although not all of them must be present to the same degree in a single entity for it to qualify as phenomenally conscious.  Further, the capacities included in the basic package must be integrated, otherwise it would be inappropriate to qualify the behavior exhibited by the system in question as being its own or to say that the system is in control of its own behavior.  It is not sufficient that information gets into the system one way or another, but the information must be for the system.  The unity of the basic package is of a functional rather than a natural kind, although the working of the inner processing is of central importance for the appropriateness of the functional description, which, Kirk points out, distinguishes his approach from the markedly behaviorist one proposed by Dennett (pp.91-2).  Kirk's detailed arguments in defense of the basic package as a necessary condition for perceptual-phenomenal consciousness (and as both necessary and sufficient for non-conscious perception) proceeds by analyzing some apparent counter-examples, among which are Strawson's 'Weather Watchers', Alzheimer's sufferers, and paralyzed people.   

Chapter 7, 'Decision, Control, and Integration' develops and refines the discourse on deciders and the basic package.  Kirk shows how the basic package works in practice as we attempt to apply it to 'indeterminate cases' where our intuitions about the presence of conscious perception in a system fail us.  Among the systems in question, Kirk mentions simple organisms such as protozoa, bees, etc., human systems such as embryo, fetus and neonate, split-brain patients, and artificial systems such as robots.  In addition, creatures popping up from the philosophical world of thought-experiments are discussed in relation to the basic package idea, such as the artificial giant, zombies (again), Block machines and Commander Data.  Kirk notices that when we apply our ordinary concepts of deciding, interpreting and assessing to a system, if we do so carefully and on reflection, 'we will use these notions only in connection with systems with something like the basic package.' (p.100).

Chapter 8, 'De-sophisticating the Framework', answers a possible objection to the basic package solution proposed in the previous chapters.  Namely:

If being a decider requires not only the capacity to acquire and use information, but to do so in a sense which involves the ability to represent the world and to have concepts, and in some sense to think about what it is doing, then a decider is a sophisticated system.  ...it is difficult to understand how [that ability] could be possessed without language.  If that is right, then...either perceptual consciousness does not require the basic package, or else only creatures with language can be perceptually conscious.  (pp.119-20).

The above objection appears to be seriously damaging to Kirk's view, but Kirk does counter it by pointing out that its acceptance is based on unwarranted assumptions regarding what it is involved in representation, belief, and rationality more generally.  The prevalent views are strongly rationalistic and Kantian in their inspiration; in discussing such proposals as Evans', Bermúdez' and Davidson's, among others, Kirk points out that they set unnecessarily strong conditions on concept possession and believing which cannot be met by non-linguistic creatures.  

In  Chapter 9, 'Direct Activity', Kirk points out that phenomenal-perceptual consciousness must present some further condition that distinguishes it from cases such as blindsight, subliminal perception, and ordinary recollection of our perceptual experiences, all of which exclude phenomenal consciousness and may be carried out by means of the basic package.  In evolutionary terms, the 'point [of perceptual consciousness] is to provide the organism with instantly utilizable information about events in its current environment regardless of whether it chooses to summon up this or that particular item.' (p.141).  Kirk advances the idea of 'direct activity' as supplement to the basic package, so that direct activity plus the basic package are to be seen as providing a priori individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for perceptual-phenomenal consciousness, and the entity in possession of the relevant capacities is called 'decider-plus'.  Direct activity consists of 'instantaneity' and 'priority', which to Kirk are best conceptualized as 'the same property viewed in two ways' (p.151).  By 'instantaneity', Kirk means that 'it pretty well instantaneously endows the system with certain kinds of capacities' such as those of describing the kinds of sensory experiences one undergoes, recognizing the object of previous perceptions in similar circumstances, being able 'spontaneously to produce appropriate non-verbal behavior.'  The crucial point is that 'the sense in which these capacities are acquired instantaneously is that exercising them doesn't require any special acts of recall, any guessing, or any popping up.' (p.151).  With regard to 'priority', Kirk explains that 'those events have priority if they act on the organism's central processes of interpretation, assessment, and decision-making regardless of the information's relevance to whatever goals the organism may currently have.  ... information coming in with priority in this sense "forces itself" on the system's central processes, since it affects them in a way it cannot control ... regardless of its relevance to its current goals, and regardless of whether it actually gets used.'  This 'enables the system to alter or modify those goals, and may prompt it to do so.'  (p.153).  In the same context, Kirk tackles a problem which particularly besets higher-order theories of perception such as those examined in the previous chapter.  The problem has its sources in viewing conscious perception in terms of the dichotomy between concept-processing mechanisms and sensory information, which gives rise to the dilemma of either having to postulate a 'Cartesian Theatre' where the two components of conscious perception come together or having to explain conscious perception in terms of sub-processes which somehow ensue in a conscious experience.  Kirk's brilliant solution is the 'holistic approach'.  Namely: 

Instead, we need some way of conceiving of perceptual consciousness according to which it contributes to the working of the system as a whole. ... Give up thinking of non-conceptual representations as distinct from but 'poised' or 'available to', and processed by, an Evans-type concept-exercising and reasoning system.  Instead, conceive of certain large-scale complex processes as wholes, whose coordinated activity constitutes the system's taking-account-of-directly-active-perceptual-information.' (pp.154.55).

In Chapter 10, 'Gap?  What Gap?', Kirk goes on to reinforce the point made in the previous chapter by showing that the basic package-plus is not only nomologically sufficient to perceptual-phenomenal consciousness, but sufficient 'in such a way that contradiction or other incoherence would be involved in a decider-plus not being phenomenally conscious.' (p.164).  He proposes to do so by an extension of the sole-pictures argument to an 'arbitrary decider-plus', and concludes that 'if the basic package-plus satisfies all the purely functional conditions necessary for perceptual-phenomenal consciousness, then it satisfies all the conditions necessary for perceptual-phenomenal consciousness.' (p.166).  The remainder of the chapter is dedicated to answering a number of foreseeable objections.

Chapter 11, 'Survival of the Fittest', presents a critical overview of alternative approaches to the problem of perceptual-phenomenal consciousness.  This includes brief discussions of neuroscientific accounts, e.g., Edelman and Tononi, Damasio, metaphysical doctrines, i.e., dualism and physicalism, the philosophies of Wittgenstein and Sartre, Behaviorism, other kinds of functionalist approaches, Dennett's 'multiple drafts' and 'Joycean machine' model, pure representationalism, higher-order perception and higher-order thought theories.  The shortcomings of these alternatives are brought to the fore and the soundness and fruitfulness of Kirk's approach are highlighted. 

Kirk's compelling sole-pictures argument does make its point rather forcefully, although the book ends with the admission that 'the gulf between being the observer of a conscious subject and being that subject, and the associated gulf between viewpoint-neutral and viewpoint-relative concepts, are both wide.  ... [The zombie idea] will stay shimmering there, poised to dazzle and confuse.' (p.218).   

Kirk is to be credited for painstakingly reviewing a considerable number of objections to which his position might have been open; however, there is still some scope for a couple of general points. 

First of all, one objection in the book points to the fact that the language describing the basic package-plus is full of 'implications of consciousness' (p.173).   In his answer Kirk explains that his language is neutral, and that it is possible to assess whether to apply the concept of direct activity-plus to a creature without knowing in advance whether the creature is conscious or not.  Further, he adds that some philosophers, notably Chalmers, do keep separate the psychological from the phenomenal and claim that possession of the former does not entail possession of the latter; in fact, zombies are an exemplification of this very same conceptual distinction.  Perhaps, it might be worth pursuing the objection a little further.  For one thing, the neutrality of the language constitutes what is in question in the objection, so it cannot provide an answer.  Secondly, assessing whether a concept may or may not be applied to a certain entity is not the same as elaborating the content of the concept itself: in the present case, one may be in doubt whether an entity is or is not conscious when assessing whether the basic package-plus applies to that entity, but this does not mean that in elaborating the concept of basic package-plus as entailing phenomenal consciousness one can possibly do without using, implicitly or explicitly, what one already knows about phenomenally conscious creatures, their behavior, and internal processing according to the 'moderate realism of everyday psychology'.   Finally, it might seem odd that Kirk is here happy to build the very same distinction between psychological capacities and phenomenal consciousness and the very same zombie idea which his book is designed to relinquish into the presuppositions of the methodology he adopts in constructing the central concepts of his position.  In sum: it seems at least doubtful that one can plausibly conceive of a situation being for a system as a whole, of a system assessing and acting on the basis of instantly available incoming information which is for it, or of a concept like 'decision/decider', without necessarily (logically) implying some idea of consciousness.  Apart from its undeniable merits, I fail to see how the basic package-plus provides a step forward towards clarifying how a description of what is purely physical entails a description of the phenomenal.  Furthermore, if I understand Kirk correctly, he is not satisfied with a nomological truth, that is, a law of nature regarding the relation between the physical and the psychological: his conditions specifying the basic package-plus for phenomenal consciousness are meant to be necessary ones in a logical sense.   In fact, a purely empirical claim would, for example, weaken the structure of one of Kirk's crucial arguments, that is, the extended sole-pictures argument, which heavily relies on the core assumption that the basic package-plus satisfies 'all necessary functional conditions' for perceptual-phenomenal consciousness (p.165).  But, exclusively on the basis of empirical evidence, we could hardly know for sure that all conditions are satisfied at all times?  Kirk's view on causal relations is in fact that '[they] are contingent; anything which actually has certain effects could conceivably have failed to have them even if they and all other processes and events were held constant.' (p.49).  It is worth noticing that the basic package-plus is partly meant to justify the strict implication thesis for minimal physicalism, hence it cannot itself rely on that thesis for support.  This brings me to my last point, which is concerned with the strict implication thesis itself.

It is important to bring to light how Kirk is justified in making his entailment claim from the totality of physical truths to the totality of psychological truths.  Kirk puts forward various examples to illustrate his point, a point he makes extensively also in some of his other publications.  One of his examples is the digital camera one according to which if 'my camera produces something identifiable as an image of a duck', then 'a specification of that image in terms of pixels will strictly imply that description' (p.20).  Here entailment cannot be established by analyzing the meaning of the terms involved, since it is clear that 'we could fully understand the pixel-language specifications without being able to infer from them that they were of duck-images'.  Consequently, 'it will not generally be possible to establish such cases of strict implication by constructing a deductive argument.' (p.20).   Kirk's crucial move in establishing his entailment claim is that 'given [that particular image] is of a duck', could it 'have fitted the specification S and have failed to be of a duck' ?  'The answer to that question is a firm non-empirically based "No".' (p.21).  In Mind & Body (2003), Kirk explains that the strict implication thesis is necessary in the same sense in which the following sentence is necessary: '(A) the number of rabbits in our garden at this moment is greater than 5'.  Although, as a contingent fact, there could be any number of rabbits in the garden, still it has to be admitted that the 'number of rabbits in the garden at this moment' corresponds to a definite number.  So, if we suppose that there are 10 rabbits in the garden at this precise moment, then it is not contingent but necessary that 10 is greater than 5.  Both illustrations do highlight the idealistic presuppositions of the strict implication thesis; an odd predicament if no physicalist, according to Kirk, can avoid committing to such thesis without self-contradiction or other logical incoherence.  In particular, the entailment claim in the above examples works only on the implicit assumption that a conscious entity is there either to make the decision to build a digital camera in such a way that the duck-picture is specified by a certain pixel configuration, or to ascertain the number of rabbits in the garden at any given time; without such a conscious presence the entailment does not hold.  Because by Kirk's admission the structure of the strict implication thesis is the same as the structure of the above examples, it follows that a conscious (God-like) entity is similarly presupposed for the entailment of Q by P and for the truth that nothing else exists which is not implied by P.

Not an easy read, this excellent book is highly recommended to professional philosophers as well as to members of the scientific community who are interested in consciousness-related questions: Kirk presents his dense and tightly knit arguments in a compelling manner and advances invaluable insights into the nature of consciousness.    

 

© 2006 Maria Antonietta Perna.

 

Maria Antonietta Perna, Ph.D., Post-doctoral Research Fellow, University College London; Part-time Lecturer in Political Thought, Richmond University, London


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